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HUltam ®ti«J»alt 


BR 350 ,T8 D34 1905 
Dallmann, William, 1862- 

William Tyndale 

Painting in Hertford College, Oxford 

'^2 1941 


Sngltalj Itbb 

MtlUam lallmann 

Jffourtli Ebitiott. %puiaeli 


nUMED IN U. S. A. 










Tyndale - -- - Frontispiece 

Erasmus 10 

Home of Sir John Walsh ._ 13 

John Cochlaeus 15 

Sir Harry Guildford 20 

Bishop Tunstal 22 

Henry VIII 39 

Thomas More - 43 

Sir Thomas Elyot 48 

Charles V 50 

Tyndale Betrayed 52 

Castle of Vilvorde 54 

Autograph of Tyndale 56 

Tyndale Strangled and Burned 58 

Miles Coverdale, Bishop of Exeter 64 

Archbishop Cranmer 66 

First Reading of Bible in St. Paul's, 1541 68 

Edward VI 70 

Bloody Mary .-. 72 

Queen Elizabeth 73 

Tyndale Monument 75 

James I - 77 

Statue of Tyndale in London 78 




1. Tyndale at School 

William Tyndale was born about 1494 
in Gloucestershire, near Wales. 

About 1506 he went to Magdalen Hall, 
Oxford, and became Bachelor of Arts July 4, 
1512, and Master of Arts July 2, 1515. 

Tyndale read the Greek New Testament 
with students of the college. Grocyn had 
learned Greek in Italy and was the first to 
teach it in Oxford in 1492. But the party 
of the "Trojans" opposed the study of Greek. 
One of the colleges had forbidden the en- 
trance of the Greek New Testament within 
its walls "by horse or by boat, by wheels 
or on foot." Richard Croke, professor of 
Greek at Leipzig, came back to Cambridge 
in 1518 to teach Greek. About 1519 Tyndale 
went to Cambridge, where Erasmus was 
teaching Greek and editing his Greek New 
Testament. In 1520 the magnificent Wolsey 
made his triumphal visit to Cambridge and 
was greeted with a most fulsome eulogy. 



Tyndale's Life in England 

Early next year Luther's works were burned 
at Paul's Cross in London, and at the Easter 
term they were burned at Cambridge — the 
cost for "drinks," etc., was two shillings. 

2. Tyndale a Tutor 

About 1522 we find Tyndale as tutor in 
the family of Sir John Walsh at Little Sud- 
bury, in Gloucestershire, twelve miles north- 
east of Bristol, who had been the king's 
champion at the coronation of Henry VIIL 

"The continuous stream of Lutheran 
literature" began to pour into English sea- 
ports in 1521. Lutheran books, though rig- 
orously prohibited, were probably not un- 
known amongst the imports that floated up 
the Avon to the warehouses of the Bristol 
merchants. "There was talk of learning as 
well of Luther and Erasmus Roterodamus 
as* of opinions in the Scriptures. The said 
Master Tyndale being learned and which had 
been a student of divinity in Cambridge, and 
did many times therein shew his mind and 
learning." Sir John kept a good table, 
and the clergy were often invited. Tyndale 
had an uncomfortable way of crushing his 
opponents by clinching his arguments with 
chapter and verse of the Bible. As a result 

Tyndale's Life in England 

they began to hate him and stayed away 
from the good dinners of Master Walsh rather 
than have the "sour sauce" of Tyndale's 
arguments. The clergy were very ignorant. 
A visitation at Salisbury in 1222 showed five 
out of seventeen clergymen could not trans- 
late the words of consecration of the Mass. 
Nearly three hundred years later Archbishop 
Warham complained the Canterbury monks 
"are wholly ignorant of what they read" in 
the divine service. A generation later, in 
the reign of Edward VI, Bishop Hooper of 
Gloucester examined 311 clergy; of these 
168 were unable to repeat the Ten Com- 
mandments, 31 could not tell where they 
came from, 40 were unable to repeat the 
Lord's Prayer, about 40 could not name the 

In 1408 Archbishop Arundel had the Con- 
vocation of Canterbury expressly forbid any 
man to translate any part of the Scriptures 
into English or to read such translation with- 
out authority of the bishop, an authority not 
likely to be granted. The Bible was not 
even a part of the preparatory study of 
the preachers. Writing against Alexander 
Alesius to James V of Scotland, Cochlaeus, 
the notorious Romish theologian, says: "The 



Tyndale's Life in England 

New Testament translated into the language 
of the people is in truth the food of death, 
the fuel of sin, the veil of malice, the pretext 
of false liberty, the protection of disobe- 
dience, the corruption of discipline, the de- 
pravity of morals, the termination of con- 
cord, the death of honesty, the well-spring 
of vices, the disease of virtues, the instiga- 
tion of rebellion, the milk of pride, the nour- 
ishment of contempt, the death of peace, the 
destruction of charity, the enemy of unity, 
the murderer of truth!" 

In 1529 Latimer, at Cambridge, in his two 
famous "Sermons on the Card," urged the 
translation and universal reading of the 
Bible. Prior Buckenham objected in a ser- 
mon on "Christmas Dice": "Where Scrip- 
true saith, 'No man that layeth his hand to 
the plough and looketh back is meet for the 
kingdom of God,' will not the ploughman, 
when he readeth these words, be apt forth- 
with to cease from his plough, and then 
where will be the sowing and harvest? 
Likewise, also, whereas the baker readeth, 
'A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,' 
will he not forthwith be too sparing in the 
use of leaven, to the great injury of our 
health? And so, also, when the simple man 




Tyndale's Life in England 

reads the words 'If thine eye offend thee, 
pluck it out and cast it from thee,' incon- 
tinent he will pluck out his eyes, and so the 
whole realm will be full of blind men, to 
the great decay of the nation and the mani- 
fest loss of the king's grace. And thus, by 
reading of Holy Scriptures, will the whole 
kingdom be in confusion." (Demaus, Life 
of Latimer, p. 77.) 

"Some years before the rise of the Lu- 
theran heresy there was in morals no disci- 
pline, in sacred literature no erudition, in 
divine things no reverence; religion was 
almost extinct," are the words of Cardinal 

So it need not surprise us that Tyndale 
was soon suspected of heresy when he al- 
ways proved his points with the Bible. The 
outspoken young scholar caused many an 
uneasy hour to Lady Walsh, who would re- 
mind him that bishops and abbots having 
an income of hundreds of pounds yearly held 
views the very opposite of his; and "were 
it reason, think you, that we should believe 
you before them?" Of course it was difficult 
for a moneyless young scholar to answer 
such an argument from such a source. In 
order to strengthen his position with his 


Tyndale's Life in England 

wavering hostess by the testimony of Eras- 
mus, whose fame was resounding through 
Europe, Tyndale translated his Handbook of 
a Christian Soldier, and Sir John Walsh and 
his lady were won over to his opinions, and 
the clergy were no more invited. 

3. Tyndale Preaches 

Tyndale often preached in the near-by 
little church of St. Adeline and even on 
St. Austin's Green of Bristol. His preaching 
was fiercely attacked by the clergy. "These 
blind and rude priests, flocking together to 
the ale-house, — for that was their preach- 
ing-place, — raged and railed against him, 
affirming that his sayings were heresy, add- 
ing moreover unto his sayings, of their own 
heads, more than ever he spake." 

4. Tyndale is Tried 

Tyndale was secretly accused to Chan- 
cellor John Bell, and preparations to con- 
demn him were quietly made. Summoned 
to appear, Tyndale went, though fearing that 
evil was intended, and "prayed in his mind 
heartily to God to strengthen him to stand 
fast in the truth of His Word." "When 
I came before the Chancellor, he threatened 
me grievously and reviled me and rated me 

Tyndale 117] 

Tyndale's Life in England 

as though I had been a dog." But Tyndale's 
defense seems to have been ably conducted, 
for he left the court neither branded as a 
heretic nor even forced to swear off any- 
thing; "folk were glad to take all to the 
best," as Sir Thomas More wrote. 

5. Tyndale Does Some Thinking 

Tyndale thought long and hard why the 
clergy should oppose so violently the opin- 
ions taken from the Bible and in his doubts 
consulted "a certain doctor that had been 
an old chancellor before to a bishop," prob- 
ably William Latimer, the Oxford Humanist. 
His doubts were resolved in a most unex- 
pected manner. "Do you not know," said 
the Doctor, "that the Pope is the very Anti- 
christ which the Scripture speaketh of? But 
beware what you say; for if you shall be 
perceived to be of that opinion, it will cost 
you your life. I have been an officer of his, 
but I have given it up and defy him and all 
his works." 

Convinced of this, Tyndale was also con- 
vinced that, to save the Church, the com- 
mon people must have the Bible in their 
own tongue. He was no dreamer or fanatic; 
with a clear eye he saw the seat of trouble, 


Tyndale's Life in England 

and with a glowing heart and firm will he 
set about to seek the only remedy. "I per- 
ceived how that it was impossible to estab- 
lish the lay people in any truth except the 
Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes 
in their mother tongue that they might see 
the process, order, and meaning of the text." 
"In this they be all agreed, to drive you 
from the knowledge of the Scripture and 
that ye shall not have the text thereof in 
the mother tongue and to keep the world 
still in darkness, to the intent they might sit 
in the consciences of the people through vain 
superstition and false doctrine, to satisfy 
their filthy lusts, their proud ambition, and 
unsatiable covetousness and to exalt their 
own honor above king and emperor, yea, 
above God Himself, . . . which thing only 
moved me to translate the New Testament." 
"Communing and disputing," says Fox, 
"with a certain learned man, he drove him 
to that issue that the learned man said, 'We 
were better to be without God's laws than 
the Pope's.' Master Tyndale hearing that, 
answered him, 'I defy the Pope and all his 
laws,' and added. If God spare my life, ere 
many years I will cause a boy that driveth 
the plow shall know more of the Scripture 



Tyndale's Life in England 

than thou doest.' " This became known; 
the priests waxed fiercer in their opposition; 
they charged him with heresy; they hinted 
at burning him. 

6. Tyndale Goes to London 

With an introduction to Sir John's friend, 
Sir Harry Guildford, Controller of the Royal 
Household, Tyndale in 1523 went to London 
to see the new bishop, Cuthbert Tunstal, 
whom Erasmus had praised for his love of 
learning. As proof of his scholarship Tyn- 
dale took with him "an oration of Isocrates 
which I had translated out of greke in to 

Two years before Tyndale's arrival in 
London it was discovered that Luther's books 
had been imported in such numbers that 
Wolsey required all to deUver up the works 
of the arch-heretic to the church authorities; 
yet the books were brought in by the mer- 
chants who traded with the Low Countries. 
Henry himself, who loved theological con- 
troversy and prided himself on his ortho- 
doxy, had written against Luther and been 
rewarded for his zeal by the title of "De- 
fender of the Faith," still fondly cherished 
as the most honorable of all the distinctions 
of the English sovereigns. 




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Tyndale's Life in Etigland 

The example of the king was, of course, 
followed by the clergy; the pulpits re- 
sounded with fierce denunciations of the 
"detestable and damnable heresies" of that 
"child of the devil" who had ventured to 
resist the authority of the Pope. The atten- 
tion of Parliament was directed to the re- 
ported spread of Lutheranism in the Univer- 
sity of Cambridge, and it was proposed to 
search the suspected colleges, which, how- 
ever, Wolsey forbade. 

Until he could see Tunstal, Tyndale 
preached in St. Dunstan's-in-the-West, cor- 
ner of the Strand and Fleet Street, and 
greatly impressed Humphrey Monmouth, 
a wealthy, educated, and traveled cloth 
merchant, later an alderman and a sheriff, 
who lived near the Tower. Tyndale gained 
the sympathy of the generous merchant, 
who himself had begun "to be a Scripture- 
man" and whose special pleasure it was to 
assist needy scholars. 

Tunstal accorded an interview to Tyn- 
dale, acknowledged the scholarship of the 
stranger, but said his house was full and 
advised the young man to seek a place else- 

"The priest came to me again," says 


Tyndale's Life in England 

Monmouth, "and besought me to help him; 
and so I took him into my house half a 
year; and there he lived like a good priest, 
as methought. He studied most j5art of the 
day and of the night at his book; and he 
would eat but sodden meat by his good will 
and drink but small single beer. I never 
saw him wear linen about him in the space 
he was with me. I did promise him ten 
pounds sterling to pray for my father and 
mother their souls and all Christian souls." 
For this kindness to Tyndale, Monmouth 
was imprisoned in the Tower. Sir Thomas 
More, while fiercely fighting Tyndale's doc- 
trines, admits that "before he went over the 
sea, he was well known for a man of right 
good living, studious and well learned in the 
Scripture, and looked and preached holily." 
Monmouth bought and studied the works 
of Luther and had all the usual marks of 
the "detestable sect of Lutherans." Hither- 
to Tyndale "seems to have looked up to 
Erasmus as the great light and guide of the 
age and the true reformer of religion; now 
he heard of a greater Reformer, whose words 
of more impressive eloquence, and, still 
more, whose conduct of more resolute de- 
termination, had achieved what Erasmus 


Tyndcde's Life in Erigland 

had rather recommended than attempted. . . . 
There can be no question that from this time 
onwards Luther occupied the highest place 
in his esteem and exercised very consider- 
able influence over his opinions," says 

Tyndale saw men led to prison and to 
death for having Luther's writings, and he 
knew well a Bible translation would be still 
more dangerous. At last the simple-minded 
scholar "understood not only that there was 
no room in my lord of London's palace to 
translate the New Testament, but also, that 
there was no place to do it in all England." 
Tyndale was not the man to put his hand 
to the plow and then draw back; if only 
a life of exile could do the work, a Hfe of 
exile he would accept. "To give the people 
the bare text of Scripture, he would offer 
his body to suffer what pain or torture, yea, 
what death His Grace [Henry VIII] would, 
so that this be obtained." 



About May, 1524, Tyndale sailed to Ham- 
burg, unto "poverty, mine exile out of mine 
natural country, and bitter absence from 
my friends, the hunger, the thirst, the cold, 
the great danger wherewith I was every- 
where compassed, the innumerable other 
hard and sharp fightings which I had to 

1. Tyndale at Wittenberg 

Wittenberg was "the common asylum of 
all apostates," as Duke George of Saxony 
styled it; "the little town which had sud- 
denly become the sacred city of the Refor- 
mation," as Green puts it, rightly; for 
Scultetus says of certain travelers, "as they 
came in sight of the town, they returned 
thanks to God with clasped hands, for from 
Wittenberg, as heretofore from Jerusalem, 
the light of evangelical truth had spread to 
the uttermost parts of the earth." 

"Guillelmus Daltici ex Anglia" registered 
at Wittenberg on May 27, 1524 — none other 
than William Tyndale. On the 30th we find 
the name of Matthias von Emersen of Ham- 
burg, nephew of widow Margaret von Emer- 


Tyndale's Work in Germany 

sen, who entertained Tyndale. "Guilhelmus 
Roy ex Londino" registered on June 10, 
1525 — William Roy, Tyndale's helper. 

At Wittenberg, Tyndale "had conference 
with Luther and other learned men in those 
parts," Fox says. Free from danger, Tyn- 
dale settled down to his life-work. He used 
the 1522, third, edition of Erasmus's Greek 
New Testament and "systematically con- 
sulted" Luther's German New Testament. 
Froude says Tyndale translated under Lu- 
ther's "immediate direction," and Green 
speaks of "Tyndale's Lutheran translation." 

2. Tyndale at Cologne 

In the spring of 1525 Tyndale went to 
Hamburg to send to Monmouth for the ten 
pounds left with him, and at the same time 
he sent "a little treatise," Bugenhagen's 
Letter to the English? 

Hans Collenbeck brought the money, and 
Tyndale and Roy went to Cologne, where 
Peter Quentel was to print three thousand 

John Cochlaeus, whom the papists call 

"the scourge of Luther," was in Cologne and 

heard the printers boast that all England 

in a short time would become Lutheran. 


Tyndale's Work in Germany 

"Inviting, therefore, some printers to his 
lodgings, after they were excited with wine, 
one of them in private conversation dis- 
closed to him the secret by which England 
was to be drawn over to the party of Luther, 
viz., that there were at that very time in the 
press 3,000 copies of the Lutheran New 
Testament, translated into the English lan- 
guage, and that they had advanced as far 
as the letter K in the order of the sheets." 
These are Tyndale's "Matthew and Mark," 
of which we read. 

Cochlaeus got Hermann Rinck, a senator 
of Cologne, well known to the Emperor and 
the King of England, to procure the order 
to stop the printing, and the King, Cardinal 
Wolsey, and Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester, 
were warned by Cochlaeus to keep a sharp 
lookout in all the seaports of England "to 
prevent the importation of the pernicious 

3. Tyndale at Wonns 

About October, 1525, Tyndale fled to 
Worms, "full of the rage of Lutheranism," 
according to Cochlaeus, and Peter Schoeffer 
printed three thousand octavo Testaments. 

Tyndale's New Testament is often called 


Tyndale's Work in Germany 

"Luther's New Testament in English." Why? 
1. Compare Luther's German Testament of 
September, 1522, with Tyndale's English 
Testament of 1525, and it is clear at a glance 
that Tyndale's is Luther's in miniature: the 
appearance of the page, the arrangement of 
the text, the inner margin for the references 
and the outer one for the explanations, the 
"pestilent glosses" — all are the same. 2. The 
"pestilent glosses," as Henry VIII called 
them, or marginal notes of Tyndale's, are 
literally taken from Luther or reproduced 
from Luther; some are original with Tyn- 
dale. 3. The translation is from the original 
Greek, but Luther's was used systematically. 
4. In Tyndale's prolog many passages have 
been borrowed from Luther, "as the reader 
speedily begins to suspect from the charac- 
teristic ring of the sentences." Two pages 
are taken almost word for word from Lu- 
ther. A comparison of the two "fully justi- 
fies the assertion that he reproduced in 
English Luther's German Testament," as the 
Athenaeum says. 

Dr. Edward Lee, the King's almoner, on 
December 2, 1525, wrote Henry VIII from 
Bordeaux: "An Englishman, at the solicita- 
tion and instance of Luther, with whom he 


Tyndale's Work in Germany 

is, hath translated the New Testament into 
English and within a few days intendeth to 
return with the same imprinted into England. 
I need not to advertise Your Grace what 
infection and danger may ensue hereby if 
it be not withstanded. This is the next 
[nearest] way to fulfil [fill full] your realm 
with Lutherans. For all Luther's opinions 
be grounded upon bare words of Scrip- 
ture. . . . All our forefathers, governors of 
the Church of England, have with all dili- 
gence forbid English Bibles. . . . The in- 
tegritj^ of the Christian faith within your 
realm cannot long endure if these books may 
come in." 

In vain all warnings. Early in 1526 both 
editions were smuggled into England in bales 
of cloth and in sacks of flour. "It came as 
part of the Lutheran movement; it bore 
the Lutheran stamp in its version of eccle- 
siastical words," writes Green. It seems 
the Hansa merchants brought the books to 
their house, the Steelyard, on the Thames 
Embankment, and then to All Hallows' 
Church in Honey Lane. From here they 
were spread by Dr. Fornan and his curate, 
Thomas Garret. 

"The first Religious Tract Society," as 


Tyndale's Work in Germany 

Green calls them, were the "Christian Breth- 
ren," a society formed to spread Tyndale's 
New Testament and Luther's writings, the 
first English Lutheran Men's Club or Pub- 
licity Bureau. 

George Herman, an Englishman of Ant- 
werp, in 1526 sold the New Testaments to 
Simon Fish, a lawyer, who sold them to 
Robert Necton, many of them, at sundry 
times, five or ten at a time. Necton sold 
seven in Suffolk "for 7 or 8 groats apiece," 
and others in London. Richard Bayfield 
bought two unbound for 3s. 4d. At divers 
times he sold 15 or 16 to Constantine. 

About May, John Pykas, a baker of 
Colchester, "bought a New Testament in 
English, and paid for it four shillings, which 
New Testament he kept and read it througli 
many times," as he testified on trial before 
Tunstal, March 7, 1528, in the chapel of that 
very palace where Tyndale had in vain asked 
the bishop's patronage. 

At Michaelmas, 1526, John Tyball of 
Steeple Bumstead in Essex and Thomas 
Hilles bought in London from Robert Barnes 
two testaments at 3s. 2d. each, and he showed 
the book to the curate of the village. 


Tyndale's Work in Germany 

On March 15, 1528, Tunstal writes Wolsey 
during the past year Theodoric, a Dutchman 
of Antwerp, had twice brought "many testa- 
ments in Enghsh." 

John Raimund, or Endhoven, suppUed 
over 700 English New Testaments to book- 
seller Francis Byrkman. 

In the summer, Standish, bishop of 
St. Asaph, got hold of a copy and brought 
it to Cardinal Wolsey; it was resolved that 
the English New Testament should be pub- 
licly burned wherever discovered. In Sep- 
tember Tunstal, at Paul's Cross, condemned 
the New Testament to be burned; in Octo- 
ber he called it the work of "many children 
of iniquity, maintainers of Luther's sect, 
bhnded through extreme wickedness, wan- 
dering from the way of truth and the Cath- 
olic faith," and he warned all to deliver up 
their English Testaments; yet he confessed 
in his diocese the New Testaments were 
"thick spread." 

On November 21 Cardinal Campegi at 
Rome wrote Wolsey he has heard with 
pleasure of the burning of the Bibles brought 
in by "the abominable sect"; nothing "could 
be more pleasing to Almighty God." 

It was a safe business venture to reprint 


Tyndale's Work in Germany 

Tyndale's translation, and before the end 
of 1526 Christopher of Endhoven pirated 
two thousand copies at Antwerp. Warham 
would put an end to the heretical book by 
buying it up, and he spent nearly seventy 
pounds (about $5,000 today) before he gave 
up the "gracious and blessed deed, for which 
God should reward him hereafter," as Bishop 
Nix of Norwich prayed; he also contributed 
ten marks (about $500 in our money) to buy 
and burn Bibles in 1527. Thomas Garret, 
a curate of London, had Tyndale's New Tes- 
tament, which he sold at Oxford "to such as 
he knew to be lovers of the Gospel." Car- 
dinal Wolsey arrested him and his friend 
Dalaber and flung the Bibles into the fire. 

Sure of buyers among friends and ene- 
mies, the Dutch printers again pirated an 
edition of Tyndale, and London was once 
more supplied. In 1528 John Ruremond, 
a Dutchman, got into trouble by printing 
1,500 of Tyndale's New Testaments and 
bringing 500 into England. In 1527 it was 
reported by many that even the king himself 
"wolde that they shulde have the arroneous 
boks"; and "marchants and such that had 
ther abyding not ferre from the see," were 
greatly infected; and that from the college 

Tyndale [33] 

Tyndale's Work in Germany 

at Cambridge which sent the most priests 
into his diocese not one had come into Nor- 
folk lately "but saverith of the frying pan, 
tho' he speke never so holely." 

Coming from the Treaty of Cambray, 
concluded August 5, 1529, which embraced 
"the forbidding to print or sell any Lutheran 
books," Bishop Tunstal stopped over at Ant- 
werp to seize Tyndale's New Testament. 
Augustine Packington offered to buy all 
unsold copies. "Gentle Master Packington," 
said the bishop, "deemyng that he hadde 
God by the toe, whanne in truthe he hadde, 
as after he thought, the devyl by the fiste, 
do your diligence and get them for me; and 
with all my heart I will pay for them what- 
soever they cost you, for the books are erro- 
neous and nought, and I intend surely to 
destroy them all and to burn them at Paul's 
Cross." And so forward went the bargain: 
the bishop had the books; Packington had 
the thanks; Tyndale had the money — to 
print more Bibles. 

Of Tyndale's quarto fragment only a 
single imperfect copy remains; and of the 
three thousand octavo, one, incomplete, in 
St. Paul's Cathedral, and the other, without 
the title-page, in the Baptist College at 

Tyndale's Work in Germany 

Bristol; all the rest were destroyed by the 
papists. It has been estimated that about 
30,000 Bibles were imported into England 
from 1526 to 1536. 

Tyndale likely studied Hebrew among the 
Jews at Worms, whose ancient synagog was 
built, according to tradition, shortly after 
the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchad- 
nezzar. Here Tjnidale met Hermann von 
dem Busche, who, according to Spalatin's 
diary under date of August, 1526, said Tyn- 
dale "was so learned in seven languages — 
Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, En- 
glish, French — that in whichever he spoke 
you would think it was his native tongue." 

Before the close of 1526 Tyndale printed 
at Worms his famous Prolog to the Epistle 
to the Romans. Robert Ridley condemns 
it as "full of the most poisoned and abom- 
inable heresies that can be thought of," and 
Sir Thomas More attacks it for "bringing 
its readers into a false understanding of 
St. Paul." Demaus says: "Nothing could 
show more strikingly than this work the 
great ascendency which the German Re- 
former had now obtained over the mind of 
Tyndale. The Introduction to the Romans 
is in truth hardly an original work but is 

Tyndale's Work in Germany 

much more correctly described as a trans- 
lation or paraphrase of Luther's preface to 
the same epistle." 

4. Tyndale at Marburg 

In 1527 Philip of Hessen founded the first 
Protestant university at Marburg. One of the 
professors was Hermann von dem Busche, 
a pupil of Reuchlin, the first German 
Hebraist. Busch is said to be the first 
nobleman to forget his rank so far as to 
become a teacher in the schools; he was 
professor of poetry and oratory. He had 
kept up a correspondence with the English- 
man, and it is supposed Tyndale went to this 
quiet inland city to escape persecution. 

On May 8, 1528, Hans Lufft printed 
at "Malborow" Tyndale's Parable of the 
Wicked Mamraon, a treatise on Justifica- 
tion by Faith. "The choice of subject may 
fairly enough be considered an indication of 
the paramount influence which Luther now 
exercised over the mind of Tyndale; and 
indeed there are several striking similarities 
of sentiment and expression which were 
most certainly suggested by the writings of 
the great German Reformer," says Demaus. 
The Archbishop of Canterbury condemned 

Tyndale's Work in Germany 

it as "containing many detestable errors 
and damnable opinions"; it was also con- 
demned by a body of prelates and doctors 
summoned by Henry VIII; Sir Thomas More 
uniformly called it "The Wicked Book of 
Mammon," "a very treasury and well-spring 
of wickedness," "a book by which many 
have been beguiled and brought into many 
wicked heresies." 

At this time there appeared also at "Mal- 
borow" The Obedience of a Christian Man. 
It defends the Reformers from the charge 
that "they caused insurrection and taught 
the people to disobey their heads and gov- 
ernors and to rise against their princes and 
to make all common and to make havoc of 
other men's goods." In this work Tyndale 
charged the papists with having corrupted 
the Sacraments. Baptism and "the Sacra- 
ments of the Body and Blood of Christ" 
had promises annexed to them and were 
therefore true Sacraments. "Scripture hath 
but one sense, which is the literal sense, . . . 
whereunto if thou cleave, thou canst never 
err or go out of the way. And if thou leave 
the literal sense, thou canst not but go out 
of the way." No wonder Sir Thomas More 
pours out the vials of his wrath upon this 

Tyndale's Work in Germany 

book: "He hath not only sowked out the 
most poison that he could find through all 
Luther's books, or take of him by mouth 
and all that hath spette out in this book, 
but hath also in many things far passed his 

This book strengthened the Lutherans in 
England: Bilney and Bainham, for instance, 
repented of their recantation and bore the 
cruel death by fire with remarkable courage. 
It also gave to the Reformers a definite aim 
and purpose. It fell into the hands of Anne 
Boleyn, and through her Henry VIII read it. 
"This book is for me and all kings to read," 
he said and took into his own hands the 
reins of power hitherto held by Cardinal 
Wolsey. Wolsey founded Cardinal College, 
now Christ Church, at Oxford, for the pur- 
pose of opposing Lutheranism, and among 
his last words were for the king "to depress 
this new sect of Lutherans." 

In 1529 Tyndale sailed from Antwerp to 
Hamburg, was shipwrecked, and lost every- 
thing. He came to Hamburg, lodged with 
widow Margaret von Emersen from March 28 
till December. Here Miles Coverdale helped 
him get out the five books of Moses in 
English. By February Bugenhagen had 



Tyndale's Work in Germany 

established Lutheranism in Hamburg, and 
so Tyndale was safe there now. 

Tyndale's translation of the five books of 
Moses "v^as "Emprented at Malborow in the 
lande of Hesse by me Hans Luft the yere 
of our Lorde M.CCCCC.XXX. the XVII 
dayes of Januarij." Tyndale followed Lot- 
ter's edition of Luther's translation, though 
not with the "slavish deference of a copyist, 
as he is sometimes said to have done." In 
the glosses "the spirit and even the style of 
Luther is distinctly visible," says Westcott. 
"Perhaps it would have been better if Tyn- 
dale had in this matter more closely fol- 
lowed his German predecessor; for the 
greatest of Tyndale's admirers must admit 
that his keen sarcasms are by no means so 
suitable an accompaniment to the sacred 
text as Luther's topographical and exposi- 
tory notes," says Demaus. Some called him 
"nothing more than an English echo of the 
great German heresiarch." "Those best ac- 
quainted with the theology of the English 
Reformation will be the first to admit that 
we shall look in vain in Cranmer, Latimer, 
or Ridley for any such clearness of appre- 
hension and precision as here displayed by 


Tyndale's Work in Germany 

In May, 1530, Bishop Nix of Norwich 
begged the king to kill the rumor he fa- 
vored the New Testament; otherwise he 
could not check the growing Lutheranism 
in his diocese. The king called some thirty 
divines to Westminster, and on the 24th they 
condemned the free circulation of Old or 
New Testament. The next day the king in 
the Star Chamber said it was not necessary 
for the commons to have the Bible in 
English; at present it would only do harm. 
Within fifteen days all copies were to be 
given up to the church officers. In the same 
month Tunstal made another big bonfire of 
New Testaments and other Lutheran books. 
From the Reichstag at Augsburg Cardinal 
Campegi on June 28 wrote King Henry so 
worthy a deed added great glory to his name. 

Six months later Latimer wrote the king 
three or four of the divines had favored the 
English Bible but were overborne by the 

In November Tyndale's brother John, 
Thomas Patmore, and a young man living 
near London Bridge were jailed by Chan- 
cellor Thomas More for "receiving of Tyn- 
dale's testaments and divers other books and 
delivering and scattering the same." Each 


Tyndale's Work in Germany 

of them was set upon a horse, and their 
faces to the horse's tail, and paraded to the 
Standard in Chepe, where they threw their 
said books into a great fire. They were 
fined, Patmore 100 pounds. 

Early in March Tyndale's friend Thomas 
Hitton was burned. His soul went "straight 
from the short fire to the fire eternal. . . . 
The devil's stinking martyr," writes St. Sir 
Thomas More. 

In August little Bilney perished in the 

Richard Bayfield of Cambridge three 
times brought great loads of New Testaments 
into England, also five of Luther's works, 
five of Melanchthon's, four of Brenz's, three 
of Bugenhagen's, and others. In November 
Sir Thomas More seized a load. About 
Easter, 1531, he was betrayed by George 
Constantine and burned on December 4. 

John Tewkesbury, a leather merchant, 
perished in the same month in the same 
manner for the same offense. 

In January, 1532, Thomas Dusgate, or 
Benet, a graduate of Cambridge, was burned. 
In March Hugh Latimer was arrested. 
Through one Hacker over hundred Bible - 
readers were punished. 




Tyndale's Work in Germany 

The bitterest of all Tyndale's writings is 
his Practice of Prelates, a sort of historical 
summary of the "practices" by which Pope 
and clergy gradually grew up from poverty 
and humility into that universal supremacy 
enjoyed by them in Tyndale's time. 

On March 7, 1528, Bishop Tunstal licensed 
Sir Thomas More, his "Demosthenes," to 
read the books of Lutheran heresy and reply 
to them. More attacked "the pestilent sect 
of Luther and Tyndale" in his Dialogue and 
in 1531 Tyndale printed in Amsterdam his 
Answer in defense of the Reformation. More 
felt constrained to reply in his Confutation 
in May, 1532, and the work of opposing Tyn- 
dale kept him busy till the day of his death: 
in all he wrote about one thousand folio 
pages against the Reformer. The Confuta- 
tion is extremely tedious and virulent — 
"Not to speak of the ribald abuse poured 
forth in season and out of season upon Lu- 
ther, the language applied to Tyndale is 
altogether unpardonable," says Demaus. 

A few years before Tyndale had left 
England poor and unknown; now his fame 
resounded through all England. Sir Thomas 
More, Lord Chancellor of England, chief 
legal adviser of Henry VIII at a most mo- 

Tyndale's Work in Germany 

mentous crisis in English history, felt com- 
pelled to write against Tyndale. What 
stronger proof of Tyndale's power could be 
asked? According to Anthony Wood, More 
was "one of the greatest prodigies of wit 
and learning that England ever before his 
time had produced," and Tyndale entered 
the arena against him and in several impor- 
tant points remained master of the field. 
More had vowed, "I shall leave Tyndale 
never a dark corner to creep into able to 
hide his head in." Now he had to confess, 
"Men thought his Confutation overlong and 
therefore tedious to read," a sad confession 
that the great wit of the age and chancellor 
of the realm had gotten the worst of the 

In 1532 The Exposition of the Sermon on 
the Mount was printed, the ablest of Tyn- 
dale's expository works. George Joy says 
that in reality "Luther made it, Tyndale 
only but translating and powdering it here 
and there with his own fantasies." "The 
coincidences between Tyndale's Exposition 
of the Sermon on the Mount and that of 
Luther, though fewer, are even more worthy 
of notice" than usual, says Westcott. This 
great scholar also speaks of the "profound 


Tyndale's Work in Germany 

influence which Luther exerted upon his 
[Tyndale's] writings generally. The extent 
to which Tyndale silently incorporated free 
or even verbal translations of passages from 
Luther's works in his own has escaped the 
notice of his editors. . . . Tyndale's Prolog 
to his quarto Testament, his first known 
writing, almost at the beginning introduces 
a large fragment from Luther's Preface to 
the New Testament. There is indeed a ring 
in the opening words which might have led 
any one familiar with Luther's style to 
suspect their real source." 

When the plague visited Germany in 1530 
and carried off Francis Lambert of the Mar- 
burg University, a devoted friend of Tyn- 
dale, the Englishman left Marburg and went 
to Antwerp. 



On June 18, 1528, Wolsey ordered Ambas- 
sador John Hackett to have the ringleaders 
of the EngHsh Lutherans abroad arrested. 
The EngHsh merchant Richard Herman, 
a citizen of Antwerp, was jailed, but Tyndale 
escaped. Friars John West and Flegh and 
senator Hermann Rinck of Koeln also failed 
to find Tyndale. 

In November, 1530, Cromwell sent Ste- 
phen Vaughan to get Tyndale to come back 
to England. The reformer refused; he did 
not trust the king's promises. Any wonder? 
Tyndale's learned friend William Tracy, in 
his will of October 5, 1530, confessed his 
belief in salvation through Christ alone, 
rejected all other mediators, would bestow 
no money for the buying of prayers for his 
soul. His body was dug up and burned! 

The new ambassador to the kaiser, Sir 
Thomas Elyot, was ordered to take Tyndale 
forcibly and send him to England for punish- 
ment. Easily said, not easily done. More 
tells Erasmus that Tyndale, "the heretic of 
our land, is in exile both nowhere and every- 
where." With Cranmer at the Reichstag at 




Tyndale's Death in Holland 

Regensburg in 1532, Elyot writes Norfolk on 
March 14, as Tyndale "is in wit movable, 
semblably so is his person uncertain to 
come by." 

Richard Herman was jailed for eight 
months 1528 — 9 for supporting Tyndale and 
helping "to the setting forth of the New 
Testament in English." In 1534 he begged 
Queen Anne Boleyn to be restored to his 
privileges. On May 14 the queen asked 
Cromwell to restore him. 

In November, 1534, came the revised 
second edition of the New Testament — 
"Tyndale's noblest monument." The prologs 
and glosses "have to a considerable extent 
been translated from the German of Luther." 

An edition de luxe, printed on vellum, 
with capitals and woodcuts illuminated, on 
its gold edges inscribed in red paint, one on 
each face, the three words Anna Regina 
Angliae, was gratefully sent to the queen. 

Ever since the middle of 1534 Tyndale 
had found a home with Thomas Poyntz at 
Antwerp in "The English House," granted 
to the English merchants with special priv- 
ileges as far back as 1474. Tyndale also 
practiced what he preached: justification 
produced sanctification. "He reserved for 

Tyndale [49] 



Tyndale's Death in Holland 

himself two days in the week which he 
named his days of pastime, namely, Mon- 
day and Saturday." One was devoted to 
relieving English refugees; on the other "he 
walked round about the town, seeking out 
every corner and hole where he suspected 
any poor person to dwell, and where he 
found any to be well occupied and yet 
overburdened with children or else aged or 
weak, those also he plentifully relieved; and 
thus he spent his two days of pastime." 

Rigorous laws were passed year after 
year to check the progress of Lutheran 
doctrines. In October, 1529, Charles V or- 
dained that the "reading, purchasing, or 
possessing any proscribed books or any New 
Testaments prohibited by the theologians of 
Louvain, attendance at any meeting of her- 
etics, disputing about Holy Scripture, want 
of due respect to the images of God and the 
Saints" were crimes for which "men were 
to be beheaded, women buried alive, and 
the relapsed burnt." In spite of these ter- 
rible measures, Lutheranism continued to 
make rapid progress; the Emperor in re- 
venge issued fresh edicts, more severe than 
before. Informers were encouraged by a 
share in the confiscated goods of all con- 




Tyndale's Death in Holland 

victed heretics, and lest the officials should 
be mild, all who were remiss were punished. 
The inquisition had full authority to seize 
all suspected persons, to torture, to execute, 
without appeal from their sentence; and 
these tyrannical powers they exercised with 
relentless cruelty. Charles V was not one 
whit less ferocious than his son PhiHpII. 

From these bloody measures Tyndale was 
safe in the "English House"; outside he had 
no protection. His enemies thirsted for his 

Henry Philips, a smooth, treacherous vil- 
lain, came over and won the confidence of 
the simple-minded scholar, who lent him 
forty shillings. The plans being ripe, the 
Judas Philips invited the translator out to 
dinner and then arrested him through the 
Emperor's attorney, brought from Brussels, 
and put him in charge of Adolph Van Wesele, 
Lieutenant of the Castle of Vilvorde, the 
great state prison of the Low Countries, 
May 23 or 24, 1535. So skilful, secret, and 
prompt had been the arrest that probably 
no one knew of it till the Emperor's Pro- 
cureur- General, the terrible Pierre Dufief, 
came to search Tyndale's chamber and carry 
off his books, papers, and other effects. 


Ty7idale's Death in Holland 

The English merchants, aggrieved by the 
loss of an esteemed friend and by this 
treacherous assault on their rights and priv- 
ileges, wrote to the Queen Regent, Mary 
of Hungary, entreating her to release Tyn- 
dale. King Henry VIII and Cromwell were 
appealed to, and Cromwell, with the king's 
consent, wrote to Carondolet, Archbishop 
of Palermo, and the Marquis of Bergen- op - 
Zoom, two of the most influential members 
of the Imperial Government. Poyntz de- 
livered the letters, suffered labor, loss, im- 
prisonment, risked his life for his friend; 
but it was in vain. 

As Paul in prison converted the jailer 
of Philippi, so Tyndale in prison converted 
the keeper, his daughter, and others of his 
household; and the rest that became ac- 
quainted with him said that if he were 
not a good Christian man, they could not 
tell whom to trust. Even the Procureur- 
General called him "a learned, good, and 
godly man." 

A single Latin letter, written to the 
Governor of the Castle, Antoine de Berghes, 
Marquis of Bergen-op-Zoom, is all the auto- 
graph we have of this noble man of God; 
it is as follows: "I beheve. Right Worshipful, 


r^ 3 i V If I- 






i 4 i 


Sill « "i - « -s 5 


Tyndale's Death in Holland 


that you are not ignorant of what has been 
determined concerning me [by the Council 
of Brabant]; therefore I entreat Your Lord- 
ship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that, if 
I am to remain here during the winter, you 
will request the Procureur to be kind enough 
to send me from my goods, which he has in 
his possession, a warmer cap; for I suffer 
extremely from cold in the head, being 
afflicted with a perpetual catarrh, which is 
considerably increased in this cell. A warmer 
coat also, for that which I have is very thin; 
also a piece of cloth to patch my leggings: 
my overcoat is worn out; my shirts are also 
worn out. He has a woolen shirt of mine, 
if he will be kind enough to send it. I have 
also with him leggings of thicker cloth for 
putting on above; he also has warmer caps 
for wearing at night. I wish also his per- 
mission to have a lamp at evening, for it is 
wearisome to sit alone in the dark. But 
above all I entreat and beseech Your Clem- 
ency to be urgent with the Procureur that 
he may kindly permit me to have my He- 
brew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew 
dictionary that I may spend my time with 
that study. And, in return, may you obtain 
your dearest wish, provided always it be 



Tyndale's Death in Holland 

consistent with the salvation of your soul. 
But if, before the end of the winter, a dif- 
ferent decision be reached concerning me, 
I shall be patient, abiding the will of God 
to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus 
Christ, whose Spirit, I pray, may ever direct 
your heart. Amen. W. Tindale." 

James Masson, known as Latomus, who 
had attacked Erasmus and also Luther, 
writes: "When William Tyndale was in 
prison for Lutheranism, he wrote a book on 
the theme 'Faith Alone Justifies before 
God'; this he called his key to the healthy 
understanding of Sacred Scripture. We re- 
plied in three books" — rather mildly. 

The doctors of Louvain had thanked 
Beaton for burning Patrick Hamilton in 
Scotland and promised "there shall be those 
among externe nations which shall imitate 
the same." Now they had the opportunity 
to imitate, and they used it. Tyndale was 
tried for heresy. "It is no great matter 
whether they that die on account of religion 
be guilty or innocent, provided we terrify 
the people by such examples; which gen- 
erally succeeds best when persons eminent 
for learning, riches, nobility, or high station 
are thus sacrificed," said Ruwart Tapper, 


Tyndale's Death in Holland 

Doctor of Theology, Chancellor of the Uni- 
versity of Louvain, one of the judges, fore- 
most among the accusers of Tyndale and 
most relentless in opposition to him. 

"If they shall burn me, they shall do 
none other thing than that I look for," Tyn- 
dale had said long ago when they were 
burning his Bibles; "there is none other 
way into the kingdom of life than through 
persecution and suffering of pain and of 
very death, after the ensample of Christ." 

On August 5 James de Lattre, inquisitor 
apostolic of the Low Countries, deeded his 
powers to Ruard Tapper. Soon after, Tyn- 
dale was degraded, likely in the usual 
manner. To the bishops seated on a high 
platform the victim was led, robed in his 
priestly vestments, and made to kneel. His 
hands were scraped as a symbol of the loss 
of the anointing oil; the bread and the wine 
were placed in his hands and then taken 
away; he was stripped of his vestments and 
clothed as a layman. The presiding bishop 
then turned him over to the secular officer. 

The martyr sent a letter to Poyntz by 
the keeper of the castle, who warmly com- 
pared Tyndale's behavior in prison with that 
of the apostles. 


Tyndale's Death in Holland 

Early in October, 1536, Tyndale was 
strangled to death, and then his body was 
burned. "He cried at the stake with a loud 
voice, 'Lord, open the King of England's 
eyes!' " 

Tyndale's dying prayer was heard. At 
the very time of the martyr's fiery death 
the first Bible printed on English soil came 
from the press, printed by the king's own 
patent printer Berthelet, or Godfrey. It was 
Tyndale's revised New Testament, with his 
prologs, and his name openly set forth on 
the title-page; it closed with the words: 
"God saue the Kynge and all his well- 

Tyndale fought a good fight; he finished 
his course; he kept the faith; he made good 
his vow: "I will cause a boy that driveth 
the plow shall know more of the Scripture 
than thou doest." When Bishop Stokesley of 
London sneered at the Word of God which 
every cobbler was reading in his mother 
tongue, Bishop Fox of Hereford replied, "The 
lay people do now know the Holy Scriptures 
better than many of us." 

"Evil-favored in this world and without 
grace in the sight of men, speechless and 
rude, dull and slow-witted" — is the picture 


Tyndale's Death in Holland 

Tyndale paints of himself. Even if true, 
what of it? Fox calls him "the Apostle of 
England"; the North American Review con- 
siders him "the chief of the English re- 
formers"; the Christian Observer says: 
"Few are adequately conscious what an 
imperishable debt of gratitude is due his 
memory"; the British Quarterly judges him 
"perhaps the greatest benefactor that our 
native country ever enjoyed"; Froude says 
his "epitaph is the Reformation." 

In 1866 his admiring countrymen reared 
to his memory a cross -crowned lofty and 
massive monument on Nibley Knoll in 
Gloucestershire, and in 1884 Lord Salisbury 
unveiled another by J. E. Boehm in the 
Thames Embankment Gardens, near White- 
hall Court and in 1913 another was put up 
at Vilvorde with inscriptions in English, 
Latin, French, and Flemish, and he is hon- 
ored in Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and 
the Hterary grace of Tyndale's Bible is the 
proud boast of all the educated English- 
speaking world, "the most splendid literary 
monument of the genius of our native 
tongue," as H. W. Hoare writes. 



In 1535 or 1536 Miles Coverdale issued 
the Biblia, Translated out of Douche and 
Latyn into English. "He was especially in- 
debted to Luther's Bible," says Professor 
Pattison; and again, "The influence of Lu- 
ther is very apparent." At Cambridge Uni- 
versity Coverdale attended the meetings at 
the White Horse, called "Germany," because 
of the Lutheran opinions held there. Later 
he was twice a Lutheran pastor at Berg- 
zabern, in Zweibruecken, also the Bishop of 
Exeter. He had a considerable share in the 
introduction of German spiritual culture to 
English readers. The first hymns sung by 
Protestant Englishmen were the forty-one 
"Goostly Psalmes and Spirituall Songs" 
which Coverdale translated from Luther 
and others, in the original meter, so that 
they were sung to the original Lutheran 
melodies. Under Bloody Mary the book 
was forbidden, to the great loss of English 
hymnology, as Herford laments. 

In 1537 Matthew's Bible appeared, Tyn- 
dale's Bible, with the untranslated portions 



Tyndale's Influence 

of his Old Testament pieced out with Cover- 
dale's translation, done by John Rogers, 
chaplain to the merchant adventurers at 
Antwerp. About 1536 Rogers went to Wit- 
tenberg, matriculated on November 25, 1540, 
and was a pastor in Saxony. Hoare writes: 
"It is chiefly remarkable for the excessive 
Lutheranism of its annotation, in which it 
out-Tyndales Tyndale himself," and it has 
the "character of a Lutheran manifesto." 
Rogers was the first martyr under Bloody 
Mary, Monday, February 4, 1555, "he has 
been burned alive for being a Lutheran; but 
he died persisting in his opinion," wrote 
Count Noailles, the French ambassador in 

Richard Taverner, a London lawyer, the 
translator of the Augsburg Confession and 
the Apology, prepared a Bible, based on 
Matthew's, printed in London in two editions 
in 1539; it is prefaced by a manly dedication 
to the King. 

The "Great Bible" appeared in 1539 — 
practically Tyndale's work; the martyr now 
triumphed gloriously. The "Great Bible" 
was presented by Coverdale to Archbishop 
Cranmer, who laid it before the King, who 
"authorized" it and had it set up in every 

Tyndale [65] 



Tyndale's Influence 

church throughout the kingdom and com- 
mended by the clergy! 

Bonner put six copies in St. Paul's and 
was sore distressed to find people persisted 
in reading them even during the public ser- 
vices while the preacher was declaring the 
Word of God. The title-page told that "it 
was oversene and perused at the commande- 
ment of the King's Highness by the ryghte 
reverende fathers in God, Cuthbert bishop 
of Duresme, and Nicholas bishop of Roch- 
ester." And who, think you, was this "Cuth- 
bert of Duresme"? None other than Tunstal, 
the same Cuthbert who had refused to Tyn- 
dale a scholar's room, who had denounced 
and burned his Bible. This Cuthbert Tunstal 
officially recommended Tyndale's work! Tyn- 
dale did not live, labor, and die in vain! 

During the six and a half years of the 
reign of Edward VI thirteen editions of 
Bibles and thirty-five of Testaments were 
published in England. The days of Bloody 
Mary were not good days for Protestants 
and Bibles. But when Elizabeth made her 
entry into London and arrived at "the Little 
Conduit in Chepe," she was presented with 
a Bible. "Raising it with both her hands, 
the Queen presses it to her lips, and then 



Tyndale's Influence 

laying it against her heart, amid the enthusi- 
astic shouting of the multitudes, she grace- 
fully thanks the city for so precious a gift." 

Lord Bacon writes: "On the morrow of 
her coronation, it being the custom to release 
prisoners at the inauguration of a prince, . . . 
one of her courtiers . . . besought her with 
a loud voice, 'That now this good time there 
might be four or five principal prisoners 
more released; these were the four evan- 
gelists and the Apostle St. Paul, who had 
been long shut up in an unknown tongue, 
as it were in prison, so as they could not 
converse with the common people.' " 

In 1560 came the Geneva Bible, with a 
dedication "to the most virtuous and noble 
Queen Elizabeth." For the first time Roman 
type was used, and the chapters were divided 
into verses. The monopoly of printing it 
Elizabeth granted to John Bodley, founder 
of the famous Bodleian Library at Oxford. 
Eighty editions appeared. 

Archbishop Parker planned the Bishops' 
Bible of 1568 — "The influence of Tyndale is 
strongly felt," and of the notes it is said, 
"their sturdy Protestantism is often worthy 
of Luther himself." 

In 1611 came the King James Version, 



Tyndale's Influence 

practically Tyndale's Bible. The Roman 
Catholic scholar Alexander Geddes writes: 
"Every sentence, every word, every syllable, 
every letter and point, seem to have been 
weighed with the nicest exactitude and ex- 
pressed with the greatest precision." The 
poet Rogers says: "Oh, the exquisite English 
of the Bible! I often feel as if the translators 
as well as the original writers must have 
been inspired." The historian John Richard 
Green says: "As a mere literary monument 
the English of the Bible remains the noblest 
example of the Einglish tongue, while its 
perpetual use made it from the instant of 
its appearance the standard of our language." 
"In Tyndale's translation we find most of 
the strength as well as most of the sweet- 
ness of the Authorized Version. . . . There is 
a graphic simplicity about it which captures 
the ear at once. . . . The music of Tyndale's 
translation with equal ease rises to the 
stately majesty of a march or falls to the 
homelike sweetness of a mother's lullaby. 
The arrangement of words of some sentences 
is in itself triumphal." The Roman Catholic 
Faber writes: "Who will not say that the 
uncommon beauty and marvelous English 
of the Protestant Bible is one of the great 






Tyndale's Influence 

strongholds of heresy in our country? It 
lives on the ear like music that can never 
be forgotten, like the sound of church-bells 
which the convert hardly knows how to 
forego. Its felicities seem to be things rather 
than words." 

"Of the translation itself, though since 
that time it has been many times revised 
and altered, we may say that it is substan- 
tially the Bible with which we are all 
familiar. The peculiar genius — if such a 
word may be permitted — which breathes 
through it, the mingled majesty and tender- 
ness, the preternatural grandeur, the Saxon 
simplicity, unequaled, unapproached in the 
attempted improvements of modern scholars, 
all are here and bear the impress of the 
mind of one man — William Tyndale," says 

"From 1525 to 1884 the best Biblical 
scholarship of the English nation, not at- 
tempting to supersede Tyndale's work, has 
succeeded only in bringing a matchless work 
a little nearer perfection. Tyndale's influ- 
ence in fixing the standard and exhibiting 
the noble possibilities of the English lan- 
guage has far exceeded that of any other 
writer. In his English New Testament Tyn- 




Tyndale's Influence 

dale laid the 'grand foundation-stone of 
England's greatness' and conferred the 
greatest of all spiritual blessings on all 
English-speaking peoples." 

"That Tyndale's EngHsh is decidedly 
superior to the writings of his time which 
have come down to us cannot be disputed; 
it is a noble translation, the basis of every 
subsequent English version, and on several 
accounts better than all subsequent ver- 
sions; it has an individuality as pronounced 
as Luther's, its Saxon is racy and strong, 
sometimes majestic, and, above all things, 
it is hearty and true. The reader feels that 
the translator felt what he wrote, that his 
heart was in his work, and that he strove 
in prayer to reproduce in his own mother 
tongue to the very best of his ability what 
he believed to be the true sense of the Word 
of God as he understood it." 

In our present Bible eighty per cent, of 
Tyndale has been retained in the Old Testa- 
ment and ninety per cent, in the New, and 
in spite of many revisions almost every sen- 
tence is substantially the same as Tyndale 
wrote it. No greater tribute could be paid 
to his industry, scholarship, and genius. To 
him we owe the exceeding beauty and tender 





Tyndale's Influence 

grace of the language of our present Bible. 
For felicity of diction and for dignity of 
rhythm, Tyndale never has been, and never 
can be, surpassed. George P. Marsh calls it 
''the first classic of our literature — the 
highest exemplar of purity and beauty of 
language existing in our speech. . . . When 
we study our Testaments, we are in most 
cases perusing the identical words penned 
by the martyr Tyndale nearly three hundred 
and fifty years ago." 

Dore speaks of Tyndale's "strong Lu- 
theran bias"; Bishop Marsh says: "His 
translation was taken at least in part from 
Luther's"; Cardinal Gasquet says: "Luther's 
direct influence may be detected on almost 
every page of the printed edition issued by 
Tyndale." McComb says: "Some of the 
happiest renderings in our English New 
Testament we owe indirectly to the German 
Reformer." Another writes: "Happily our 
own excellent translation of the Bible still 
retains striking evidence of the influence of 
his [Luther's] admirable version, and per- 
haps it is not too much to say that the two 
most copious and energetic languages are 
greatly indebted to him [Luther] for their 
terseness and expression." 


TYNDALE'S Works, edited by the Rev. Hy. 

Walter for the Parker Society. 
FOX'S Acts and Monuments, 3 vols. Fol. 9th ed. 

London, 1684. 
FROUDE'S History oj England. 
GREEN'S History of the English People. 
DEMAUS'S Wm. Tyndale, 2d ed. 
SMITH'S Wvi. Tyndale. 
MOZLEY'S William Tyndale. 
ANDERSON'S Annals of the English Bible. 

Prime's edition. 
MOMBERT'S Handbook of the English Versions 

of the Bible. 
STOUGHTON'S Our English Bibles. 
PATTISON'S History of the English Bible. 
SMYTH'S How We Got Our Bible. 
HOARE'S Evolution of the English Bible. 
DOPE'S Old Bibles, 2d ed. 
EADIE'S English Bibles, 2 vols. 
WESTCOTT'S History of the English Bible. 
LOVETT'S The Printed English Bible. 

FRANCIS FRY'S Bibliographical Description of 
the Editions of the New Testament. Tyndale's 

GASQUET'S Eve of the Reformation. 

Works Consulted 

MARSH'S Lectures on the English Language, 

4th ed., 1862. 
MUIR'S Our Grand Old Bible. 
McCOMB'S The Making of the English Bible. 
ADAMS'S Great English Churchmen. 
MARSHALL'S Dayspring. 
MOULTON'S Library Literary Criticism. 
Dictionary of National Biography. 
The English Bible in the John Rylands Library. 
Exeter Hall Lectures, 1851—52. 
Atlantic Monthly, Vol.85. 
Nineteenth Century, 1898, 1899. 
Harper's, March, 1902. 
Academy, 1884. 
Athenaeum, 1885. 
Christian Observer, 1867, 1872. 
North American Review, 1848. 
III. London News, May, 1884. 
North British Review, Vol. 5. 
London Review, Vol. 39. 
Argosy, Vol. 30. 

Tyndale [81] 



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William Tyndale : the translator of the 

Princeton Theological Semmary-Speer Library 

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